Dallas Museum of Art Names Spanish Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos to Renovate the Museum

Friday, August 4, 2023
Dallas Museum of Art Names Spanish Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos to Renovate the Museum

Winner’s concept design proposes a radical transformation to speak to new audiences and improve accessibility while sustainably preserving much of the original Edward Larrabee Barnes building

The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) today announced that the team led by the award-winning Madrid-based practice Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos (NSA) has won the Reimagining the Dallas Museum of Art International Design Competition.

The decision by the Museum’s Architect Selection Committee (ASC) was ratified yesterday by the Dallas Museum of Art Board of Trustees, and this concludes the six-month international competition, which launched in February 2023 and attracted 154 submissions from around the world, resulting in a shortlist of renowned U.S. and international teams.

Known for their dynamic and innovative façades at the Contemporary Art Centre in Córdoba, and the Montblanc Haus in Hamburg, the Spanish design team of Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano has previously received accolades including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Hannes Meyer Prize, the Alvar Aalto Medal, and the Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts from the Government of Spain.

Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos described their competition-winning proposal – which will be developed by the Museum in consultation with its stakeholders and communities – ‘as a reflection of the original building, transforming the relationship between art, landscape, and community into a balance of memory and innovation.’

View from Klyde Warren Park © Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos

While respecting Edward Larrabee Barnes’ original design intent in his 1984 building, the NSA proposal includes a new floating contemporary art gallery on the roof and rebalances the north and south façades, communicating the expression of art via an exterior LED-generated artwork mediated by a perforated surface. Transparent glazing at the north façade (Klyde Warren Park), and at the Harwood Street façades at ground level, gives passers-by views of visitors inside the Museum engaging with the art.

Throughout the competition process the Museum has been focused on its vision as originally set out in its 2021 Five Year Strategic Plan: better serving the diverse city of Dallas and being a dynamic connector where people of all cultures feel welcomed and embraced.

The winning concept design was embraced by the ASC because it provides potential solutions to address circulation, sustainability and gallery expansion while respecting the existing building. The committee was also attracted to the balance created by the proposed north and south façades.

NSA’s design moves include enhancing the interior street by bringing light in from above, improving accessibility by rationalizing the stepped ground floor ramp and gallery half levels, and making visual connections through the entire building north and south.

The design unifies the vertical circulation and references the interior street so visitors can easily orient themselves. Two new dynamic façades reinstate visibility and identity equally from the south at Ross Plaza (currently underplayed) and the north end at Woodall Rodgers.

The concept addresses the need for expanded gallery space by creating a dramatic floating square extension on the roof – reflecting Barnes’ square grid – a huge flexible space for displaying contemporary art. The extension also incorporates an events space and restaurant, with a roof terrace overlooking Klyde Warren Park.

Education and performance spaces are arranged along Harwood Street, with streetlevel glazing encouraging curiosity and opportunities for activation of the Flora and Fleischner courtyards.

A new covered loading dock with facilities for conservation and staff offices infill the underused area off North St Paul Street.

The principles of sustainability are addressed impactfully with the decision to retain much of the original building’s embodied carbon by limiting changes to the existing structure and fabric, further enhanced by an integrated approach to rainfall collection, bioclimatic design, and electricity generation through photovoltaics and geothermal energy.

The team set out to make their design ‘precise and beautiful’ reflecting the spatial hierarchy and grid arrangement developed by Barnes, embracing nature, and opening up the ground level to achieve transparency and engage with the street. They propose activating the Ross Avenue entrance with an informal outdoor amphitheater and moving the sculpture garden barrier wall to improve access into the garden.

Image on top : Aerial View © Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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